petite anglaise

July 17, 2007

palace

Filed under: good time girl, miam — bipolarinparis @ 1:04 am

I find a new purpose for my macbook!!!*

If ever, dear reader, you feel just a smidgeon uncomfortable after ploughing through a five course meal in a palatial hotel in Lisbon (cheap deal, I hasten to add, and I’m not sure I quite strike the right tone with my ripped jeans…), I can wholeheartedly recommend setting a warm macbook on the offending tummy for at least half an hour. It’s working wonders as a digestion aid. Truly, it is.

In the meantime, I try to have a foodie conversation with my friend Meg, who is one of those people who – when she can be bothered to actually blog – is able to write reviews of restaurants without resorting to clichés like “doesn’t the foie gras melt in your mouth?” or “don’t these oysters taste of the sea?”

The conversation goes something like this.

“Well, first of all I had this kind of amuse bouche thing, which was a very small piece of beef on toast with some spready goat’s cheese, nothing special really. And then there was a filo parcel-thing with slices of fig and proper goat’s cheese with rind on, inside. And I think the leaves on the side were watercress, they were a bit peppery, and there were pine nuts: grilled ones. Next I had a swordfish medallion with a crispy crust made of prawns and things, and some squid on the side and some unidentified vegetables, a bit like the ones you put in ratatouille. And then a quail stuffed with a special white sausage, on top of some spinach. And it had an egg on top. A quail’s egg. And a sprig of lavender. Which had made the egg taste a bit dodgy… And then…”

I don’t think I need to go on, do I? If I have any writing talent at all, it is most definitely not of the food critic variety. There were more incidences of “and then” in that last paragraph than in the whole a whole page of the Da Vinci Code.

Eating, I can do. Describing the eating experience, I cannot.

So – to cut a long story short – I’ve popped over to Lisboa for a few days while Tadpole is spending a second week of quality time with her mamie and papy, and I am suitably excited about the prospect of meeting long time blog buddy Lucy Pepper for the first time, tomorrow. The point of this trip was that it should act as a carrot of sorts, to help me through the pain of finishing tweaking the book (yes, it’s not quite over, but nearly, I hope) and to tide me over until Boyfriend and I escape to the Cyclades for a fortnight at the end of August.

I cannot begin to describe how confusing I find the notion of having someone knock on the door to “turn down the bed” for me. At 6pm. But give me time, and I’ll have these luxury ways off pat. You’ll see.

*Permission to use opening line format obtained from JonnyB.

June 29, 2007

calling in favours

Filed under: good time girl, misc — bipolarinparis @ 2:53 pm

So, if I were to be planning a sun, sand and (ahem) sex getaway in late August and was considering the Canary Islands as a possible destination, what would my dear readers suggest? Any info on tourist traps to be avoided, well-equipped but untacky hotels, most picturesque spots etc would be extremely welcome.

We (ah yes, we) have a pretty decent budget, don’t drive (I daren’t, he can’t), are keen to take in more than one island over a 10-14 day period, and we’d rather book it ourselves than get some sort of horrid package deal.

Of course, if any of my dear readers has a 5* villa with pool and would like lend it to me…

Now all I have to do is keep all my most horrifying and repellent character traits well and truly under wraps for the next month or so…

update:Gave up on the Canaries and am going to Greek Islands instead. Have only booked flight so far, so all advice still welcome…

June 12, 2007

cake

Filed under: good time girl, Tadpole rearing — bipolarinparis @ 9:45 pm

“Look at my little girl!” I say, handing Mr Frog the cake box over Tadpole’s head and motioning to him to hide it in the kitchen. “She’s four years old!” Tadpole executes a coquettish little twirl in the turquoise dress I bought the day before in an Indian shop, with its silver thread and sequin detail. Any dress with a skirt big enough to curtsey in finds favour with my daughter these days. But god forbid I try to dress her in any sort of skirt which doesn’t have “corners”. That will simply not do. At all. And as for trousers, well, we simply don’t go there.

I had staggered down the rue de Belleville earlier that morning, leaving a mojito scented fug in my wake, and collected the Chinese sponge and whipped cream monstrosity I had thankfully had the foresight to order several days earlier. Now, complete with garish Disney princess decorations purchased on my last trip to England, it is suitably hideous. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Tadpole will approve.

“But mummy,” says Tadpole frowning, “when I did wake up this morning, I was not more-ler bigger! My legs are the same. My face is the same. My hair isn’t longer. I can’t be four years old yet. Because when I’m four years old, I’m going to be extremely big. Much biggerer than this!”

“Ah,” I reply, looking askance at Mr Frog, who shrugs and peers inside the cake box, his face registering first horror, then amusement. I dig inside my jeans pocket and hand him four glittery Barbie candles in nauseous shades of pink and purple, then turn back to Tadpole, my head spinning. “Honey, did you think you were going to be all grown up when you woke up this morning?”

Tadpole nods.

“Well,” I say reasonably. “Nobody grows that quickly.” A sly smile spreads across my face as I realise I can turn this to my advantage. “Especially not little girls who don’t eat their vegetables. Because no one can grow if they don’t eat green beans, and carrots and broccoli.”

“You’ll never guess what happened to me last night,” I call to Mr Frog, who is busy melting candle ends in the kitchen with his lighter and sticking them in the plastic holders I have already inserted into the icing. “I got asked if I wanted a student rate on my way into a club. Imagine?!” I for one am not looking forward to the birthday when I suddenly begin looking my actual age overnight. I take a step into the kitchen.

“Don’t come any closer,” says Mr Frog sharply, “you’re probably flammable!” Clearly the lashings of perfume I applied and half packet of chewing gum I’ve put away this morning have masked nothing. “Let me guess. Rum? Mojitos?”

At that moment, Mr Frog’s parents appear at the front door, his father brandishing a bottle of champagne. My stomach lurches at the prospect of alcohol, reloaded and I begin to feel light-headed.

“Hair of the dog,” I mutter under my breath as a generous flute of bubbly is put into my reluctant hand. “And don’t you dare translate that,” I caution Mr Frog as he sets down the cake.

“Wow!” says Tadpole, her eyes like dinner plates. “Qu’est-ce qu’il est beau, mon gâteau…

At least, I think to myself, taking a celebratory swig of champagne and managing to stifle my grimace, my horrorshow cake was worth the considerable effort I had expended that morning.

Maybe I’m not such a bad mummy, after all.

June 10, 2007

compte rendu

Filed under: good time girl — bipolarinparis @ 2:26 pm

The pic-nique was soooo much fun. My favourite moment being when Hugo unpacked his rucksack to reveal Pimms, apple, lemon, mint, strawberries, cucumber and a knife and chopping board. There was I, with my enormous cooler, champagne on ice, more modest Pimms effort (cucumber, mint, orange), thinking I could never be upstaged…

Reports say that up to sixty people showed up – whoever had the guestbook thing, please confirm, I’d love to know – and a good time was had by all.

We’ll definitely be doing this again, so if you couldn’t make it, get your act together next time. That’s an order.

update: video footage here. Parental advisory – includes scenes of ear nibbling (ahem) and other debauchery.

update#2: Financial Times (?!) write up here. Curiouser and curiouser.

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